The EBSA European Amateur Championship has been taking place this week in Poland.
Irish interest remains high but there was some disappointment as the knockout phase started on Thursday.
The week began in sterling fashion for the five men representing Ireland, as Brendan O’Donoghue, Michael Judge, Josh Boileau, Jason Devaney and Ryan Cronin all emerged from their round-robin groups with perfect records.
That resulted in an impressive 26 wins out of 26 for the green quintet.
However, that only determined their seeding for the knockout phase, where matters became all the more serious and one defeat ensured for an unwanted exit.
For Judge and O’Donoghue, the dream of lifting the European Men’s trophy remains alive as they negotiated the opening couple of rounds to embark on the last 16.
Under-21 champion Boileau, who was bidding to complete a rare double in both the senior and junior disciplines, Devaney and Cronin all fell in the last 32, though.
Ironically for Boileau, while nobody from the continent could stop him it eventually took one of his countrymen to end his winning run in Wroclaw, with national champion O’Donoghue ousting the Kildare cueist 4-1 in the last 32.
Judge and O’Donoghue are among a strong field that still remains in with a shout of success and a subsequent expected offer to join the professional Main Tour.
Welshman Jamie Rhys Clarke was runner-up to Michael Wild last year and also agonisingly failed at the final hurdle in the 2015 World Under-21 Championship, so will be desperate to go one better on this occasion with Maltese veteran Alex Borg his upcoming challenge.
Elsewhere, talented youngsters from the continent Alexander Ursenbacher, who dispatched of Cronin, and Kacper Filipiak meet in an intriguing tie.
Judge, meanwhile, faces Welshman Rhydian Richards in a battle of the 40 year-olds, while yet another player from Wales, Jak Jones, stands in O’Donoghue’s path.
The Irish pair are on opposite sides of the draw so the chance of a dream final remains in tact.
By the end of Friday the semi-finalists will have been determined.